Third-Wheeling: My First Hong Kong Trip As A Third-Wheel

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My first international travel turned out to be as a Hong Kong Third-Wheel.

Ending yet starting new beginning in a foreign land is definitely one for the books for me. Growing up in a family-oriented culture like Filipino – me extending my stay in Hong Kong is not an easy decision. Ticket prices were lesser after the new year. Celebrating December holidays without my immediate family is something I am not used to. Don’t get me wrong, my besshy is part of my family. I know you get what I meant. It didn’t bother me traveling in Hong Kong Third-Wheel.

The Planning Stage

Sofia and her husband travel and meet up more than once a year. Hong Kong was their destination. She invited me just in case I wanted to tag along, of course I said yes (imagine me saying it with feelings). Not much about being a third wheel but I have been wanting to visit Hong Kong too. Supposedly, this would be the couple’s second time in Hong Kong.

Everything aligned because I had some business to wrap up in the Philippines by January too. From Kuwait, I made a stopover in Manila and spent Christmas with Sofia. First, to have a one-day layover in Manila. Second, to intentionally dropped off my other luggage at an airport storage facility. Win-win.

Philippine Passport Holder Fears

I didn’t do my first Hong Kong travel solo, I couldn’t dare yet. Haha. Well, at least not on my first 4 days in HK. I traveled as the Hong Kong Third-Wheel with my childhood friend, ‘besshy’ – Sofia, our first out-of-the-country trip together. It was my first traveling as a tourist and getting through Immigration has a lot of story. I wanted to have a support.

How Did I Get A Smooth Immigration Process?

Thankfully, the immigration process was smooth. The Immigration Officer (IO) asked about my work. I hold an active working visa in Kuwait and sufficient strong ties. Ninety percent of the questions were straightforward, answering the IO directly with “Yes” and “No” is the simplest way not to get-offload.

Traveling for leisure: small detail matters

Although we didn’t have a detailed itinerary, which the IO really asked about, knowing what activities we are looking forward to during our visit was very helpful. I shared that upon our arrival, Causeway Bay is definitely our first stop, and we plan to visit Disneyland either on the 31st of December or on January 1st.

When it came to booking the hotel, my best friend’s husband booked it for 3 people. At first, the IO inquired about my relationship with the person who paid for the accommodation. I replied that he is my friend’s husband. The IO then asked how long I have known her – a childhood friend – 30 years is sufficient. It’s true, we’ve known each other our entire lives. Besshy 😉

We departed from NAIA T3 in Manila via Cebu Pacific Air. I intentionally booked the same flight as hers and even sat next to her through a seat add-on when I booked my flight back in November 2023. We met, Markus, Sofia’s husband at the airport, then we took a red taxi headed to our hotel. In less than an hour we arrived, at the accommodation, where we stayed at Bishop Lei Mid-Level.

The view is astounding, location wise – near to everything! It may seems secluded in the map but it is really not. Walking distance to the Peak Tram station, SoHo, Central, and Zoo which is by the way FREE entrance!

We ended our Day 1 with dinner featuring Middle-Eastern & Indian cuisine, the Ebeneezer’s Pizzeria.

As you might have imagined, we arrived in HK around six in the evening, met in the arrival hall at 7:30, and dropped our luggage at the hotel by 8:30. It was not known to us that restaurants closed by 9 and did not accept customers after 8. Even the hotel where we stayed only served snacks like sandwiches past 9. We were unsure why this was the case, as we had not researched it or asked any locals.

Going back to our first dinner, looked like I became a Hong Kong Third-Wheel just to try Arabic food in Asian country. LOL. In all fairness, the food I had that night is closed to Kuwait’s home. The couple chose Pizza for them.

You know what’s even funnier? I almost lost my phone. I couldn’t even dare to think about enjoying this trip – if ever. Haha. I left it to the couch I was seated and thankfully, the restaurant kept it.

After we ate, I only noticed that my phone was not with me when I was about to take some pictures of the murals. We weren’t that far yet, sprinting in a slope street is something I couldn’t imagine doing. But hey, I did it. Haha. Between the three of us, the scenario was way hilarious. Imagine this, I ran, Markus hand over the takeaway bag so he could follow me, but then Sofia ran as well. So we were all running down the slope street. All is well, thankfully. Me in my Hong Kong Third-Wheel hat is hilarious.

As we are still familiarizing ourselves with the area, we opted to use the stairs from the Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to Bishop Lei International House, which consists of 164 steps. Going down seemed okay to us even we were stareving, it’s just not pleasant when going back up to the hotel. And with that, Day 1 of the Hong Kong Third-Wheel concluded.

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